Northamptonshire County Council

Don't let fire ruin your festive cheer this Christmas

Press release   •   Dec 19, 2012 08:33 GMT

Christmas dinner, wrapping presents and decorating your home – there’s a lot to think about at Christmas.

But this year Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign is asking Northamptonshire residents to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas lists.

Although fire safety is important at every time of year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season.

Fire statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England. In December 2011 there were 2,834 accidental fires in the home in England – more than any other month of the year.

Northamptonshire FRS Prevention Manager Warren Ellison, says: “Christmas is a time for having fun with family and friends, however it is also a time when extra fire hazards are introduced to the home such as fairy lights, candles and decorations. The Fire Kills campaign has released a video of a Christmas tree which really shows how quickly a fire can spread.

“We are urging you to think about fire safety – ensure you buy British Standard fairy lights, place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains, and never leave cooking unattended. Following these simple tips will make sure everyone is safe to enjoy the festivities.”

The Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips to help you celebrate safely this festive season:

  • Ensure there is a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. A working alarm can give the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries to power presents.
  • Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area.  Avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when finished cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • Put cigarettes out, right out.  Make sure the cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when drunk or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while a cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket.  Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, such as a freezer for example.
  • Ensure fairy lights are switched off and unplugged before going to bed, or leaving the house. Check that Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • Make sure that everyone at home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire: get out, stay out and call 999

Visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page

Watch the Fire Kills YouTube video:

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